The last time I saw Declan St. James was at our rehearsal dinner. That was shortly before he jilted me at the altar. To avoid the swarm of whispers and finger pointing every time I dared to show my face in public, I fled two hours south to Atlanta and never looked back. Over the last decade, I’d planned hundreds of scenarios about how our next meeting would go down. The expletives I’d hurl at him. Which knee I might use to annihilate his balls. Which dimpled cheek on his ridiculously handsome face I would send a stinging slap across.
But being elbow deep in a cow’s ass was not one of them.
Normally, I didn’t get up close and personal to a bovine’s rectum. At least not since veterinarian school. But desperate times found me back home to attend my grandfather’s funeral, who happened to be the town’s large animal vet. Those two facts had left me wading through manure in Roy Wallace’s pasture to care for a distressed heifer.
While time and maturity seemed to have changed him from the boy I knew, I still wasn’t falling for his charm. Or his hard, chiseled body. Or ass you could eat dinner off of.
No, I wasn’t going back down that street again. Unfortunately, Declan didn’t seem to get the message. Instead, he seemed as stubborn as he ever was and ready for a fight. It’ll be the fight of his life for me to let him back in my heart.
New Adult | Romance | Contemporary
***Received an Advanced Readers Copy during blog tour with InkslingerPR in exchange for an honest review***
Oh those second chance romances, when I think I am done with romance genre for a bit, those synopsis grip me hard and pull me right back in darn it! I am definitely a sucker for a sweet, small town romance between two characters with a little jilted hearts to send me in a tizzy.
And speaking of characters, Peyton on more than multiple occasions irked me, which was depressing because I honestly loved a lot of her personality. Reining Her In was entirely from her perspective and I gotta admit, I loved her inner monologues. Especially at the beginning. in fact, it was her POV that gripped me in the first place. She was an independent woman with a sarcastic tone that made me crumble with admiration. This however stopped the minute she was back in her home town. It was as if that amazing, empowering female lead was completely gone and replaced with a naive, sweet southern bell looking to get married and have kids. I think what really bothered me most, at least until we get to the romance itself, was the moment I was miffed. Yes, miffed I tell you. As soon as her grandfather passed, I know tragic, she was in town, basically handed a veterinary clinic, one that led her to her dream in the first place but it was basically immediate that Peyton altered her entire life in a matter of a paragraph. Yes, don’t yell and scream at me comrades, but the truth is there, I understood the basis of her moving back, there was this southern, historical family background to the situation but it was a complete one eighty in such a short time frame that I almost got whiplash. It seemed very convenient for my tastes.
Then we go to the turd Declan. Yeah, made me swoon, at least until he didn’t. I felt that I missed something with his character. I didn’t really have a chance to really understand nor adore his character like I generally do with romance, perhaps because I didn’t get his perspective, but honestly I was either set to hate him or sympathize for his character. Not to forget too, that almost immediate as Peyton moved back, but just as fast was she finding herself in Declan’s arms. After years of grudges, hatred, jealousy of his growing family life, Peyton and Declan fell in a sort of wishy-washy romance to rebuild. Hell, Declan hit on Peyton at her grandfather’s viewing.
Though it might seem I did not like their relationship, which in part it really did have a weird dynamic, but truthfully the romance itself was rather cute. The way Declan perused Peyton was rather charming. It was sweet in some ways that they were able to evolve, forgive and really find themselves in the life that they had always wanted.
A couple of things that I definitely think would have added more to this novel, aside from the instant re-connection that I felt should have been more evolved, it was the fact that there were no lingering outside factors to their romance. For starters, not that I am a big ‘lets do some drama’ but quite frankly, there was none when their was such a great lineup for it. The most common, or rather the obvious choice would have been Bailey, the woman who broke Declan’s heart, leaving him to be a town joke and with a son she didn’t care for; there were obvious notions towards some of the individuals she slept around with – one that happened to be a bar fight (gimmie more please), but truthfully she had little to no mentions and not a single appearance. Especially the brief mention at the end, it was a lack luster plot dynamic that had absolutely no significance to the main characters. Secondly, there was Peyton’s young little boy toy back in Atlanta. Call me crazy, but I would have really enjoyed some action there, maybe a pop up in town? A stalker? Something juicy.
Overall, this was definitely a sweet, fast enough read. There was a lot a enjoyed about Reining Her In while also finding a good chuck that I just couldn’t enjoy. Part of me really wish there was more depth, more juice, or perhaps just more of something in the mix of the novel. IT was sweet and charming, but the characters were not memorable, though they were perfect in a romance, it was still too fast paced in terms of how I felt the novel should have developed. Too quick to fall into a routine, too quick to conform to a romance, definitely too quick to forgive and forget. Again, super cute and sweet, but just maybe too sweet.
Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.
With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she hung up her red pen and expo markers to become a full-time writer. Each and every day she counts her blessings to be able to do her dream job.
Although her roots are firmly planted in the red Georgia clay, she loves traveling the country and world to meet readers and hang out with fellow authors. When she’s not writing or chasing down her toddler, you might find her watching reruns of The Golden Girls, reading historical biographies, along with romance novels, or spending way too much time on Facebook.